It is no secret that as we fight and win battles over our second amendment rights anti-gun advocates, lobbyists, and politicians have taken the battle to other fronts; ammunition. From local communities to the presidential fiat power of the pen, we find ourselves under assault. Do you remember the bricks of .22 ammunition, or being able to purchase green tip 5.56 ball ammunition? I sure as hell do. The political fever might improve, or it might not; and for you ammunition might be something worth hoarding. Here are some thoughts on ammunition storage.
Shut the Hell Up:
Just like food storage or unregistered firearms. Outside of your immediate family and closest survival associates; you don’t need to set yourself up as a potential target for neighbors or the authorities in the advent of the SHTF. And that’s all I need to say about that.
Keep Your Powder Dry:
Moisture is by far the quickest way to destroy your ammunition.
If your storage area smells or feels damp then it’s probably not ideal for ammunition storage. In regions of high humidity or direct exposure to moisture such as water or household solvents, moisture can seep in and ruin ammunition. Premium ammunition will often take steps to seal ammunition around the primer and crimp to protect from exposure; but it’s not a failsafe.
Moisture causes corrosion and obviously the corrosion will weaken the cartridge making the rounds unsafe to fire. Humidity will cause the brass casing to corrode, and occasionally the bullet depending on the material it’s made from. While minute, the corrosion can also cause dimensional changes in your casing that can keep it from failing to seat properly in the chamber.
The best way to avoid moisture is storing your ammunition sealed in plastic containers off the ground. If you live a region of high humidity or in the spring time of some regions, you may need to consider a dehumidifier. I’ve had to use these in military weapons vaults in the spring even in Idaho.
My container of preference are the ammunition cans the military uses. Most have a rubber seal or O-ring in the lid; although this feature is often missing in the older cans you find at the surplus store. A light coat of gun oil or WD-40 will also go a long way in preservation against humidity.
An option for moisture control and a long term storage container is the use of silica packs. These are the little packs in food bags or shoe boxes that absorb moisture and keep everything humidity free. These packs can be purchased in bulk online at low cost. These is one small catch however, as the silica packs can cause corrosion and rust if they are in direct contact with metal; but a little ingenuity can solve this issue.
Avoid Extreme Heat:
A warm day won’t have detrimental effects on your ammunition; but don’t store it where it could get over 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately not too many environments will reach that temperature (aside from a fire or oven), but watch the temperature in the trunk of your car or a shed/garage without climate control on hot sunny days. The heat won’t have a real effect on the casings or bullets, but the chemical components of the powder and priming mixture can be degraded and lead to a drop in performance or even misfires.
Cold will have little effect outside of temperature fluctuations which can have the same detrimental effect as heat over time.
How long will ammunition last?:
There is no single answer but most experts recommend using properly stored ammunition within 10 years. But at room temperature and minimal moisture you can expect ammunition reliability for decades. Militarily in Iraq, some of the ammunition lot numbers dated the manufacture back to the Vietnam War…a quick calculation put that ammunition at nearly 50 years and it fired reliably. While a different ball game; I’ve fire artillery rounds that dated back to the Korean War in training exercises and they also performed reliably.
So what are some tricks you use to preserve ammunition?